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08 Jul

The Best Superfoods - A to Z: Z is for Zucchini

Fitting to the warm weather, here’s a summer vegetable that will adapt to your meal preferences as a chameleon adapts to its environment: Zucchini.

Outwardly, it looks like a cucumber; internally, it has a hint of aubergine. Originally from Italy, its name in Italian “zucca” means pumpkin, reflecting the fun fact that zucchini is a pumpkin vegetable

Zucchini gets one additional bonus point for being available throughout the entire year. Since you can grow it from July to October, nothing will stand in the way of your zucchini carving. With a neutral taste, zucchini is a true all-rounder. You can eat it as finger food or as a salad. Or even better, you can cook it or steam it in water or oil. 

 

Nutrition Facts 
 

Along with being low in calories, zucchini is rich in minerals and calcium, making sure that your bones are strong and healthy. It also has trace elements of iron which will promote blood formation.

But a vegetable wouldn’t be a vegetable if it didn’t have some vitamins in it. So, to uphold its reputation, zucchini will also boost your beta-carotin, a precursor of vitamin A. Put in simpler terms, and this means that it’s good for your eyesight. Additionally, it contains vitamin C, also known as the magic potion, to enhance immunity. 

 

To put it in numbers:

  • Calories: 15 kcal
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium: 3 mg
  • Potassium: 264 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 2.7 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugars: 1.7 g
  • Protein :1.1 g
  • Vitamin A: 22%
  • Vitamin C: 1.4%
  • Calcium: 2.1%
     

What Are the Benefits of Zucchini?
 

Not only does zucchini taste delicious, but it also comes with a lot of health benefits:
 

Lower Blood Sugar Levels 
 

Along with providing vitamins and minerals, zucchini are good to keep the blood glucose levels balanced. With only 2,7 grams carbs per 100g, zucchini is a low carb food since, similar to cucumbers, it’s mainly made out of water. As a result, you can devour zucchini without risking a rise in your blood glucose level; instead, your blood sugar stays stable, keeping you saturated for a longer period. This is especially great for people who have type 2 diabetes. 
 

A Mix of Antioxidants
 

Not unlike many other vegetables, zucchini contains antioxidants. These are incredibly excellent for neutralizing free radicals that float around in our bodies and can potentially damage our cells. “But what exactly is this good for,” we hear you ponder. Well, it protects against the development of cancerous cells. In addition, studies have also shown that carotenoids (antioxidants) reduce the cell membranes, which reduces the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. 
 

A little side notes: Yellow zucchinis have a higher level of antioxidants than green ones. 
 

Minimize the Risk of Cancer
 

As already mentioned, zucchini can reduce the risk of getting several types of cancer. Studies have shown that zucchinis positively impact the growth of cancerous cells and can act preventively against cancer development. In addition, based on its anti-inflammatory and analgesic nature, zucchini used to be applied as a cure against colds and pain.    
 

Maintain Good Vision
 

Whether we like it or not, we are all heading towards a future with glasses. Luckily zucchini also helps reduce the likelihood of age-related eye diseases. We have the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (a subgroup of carotenoid) to thank for, which you’ll find in green zucchinis. Studies have shown that the intake of these antioxidants reduces the risk of macular degeneration and cataract. 
 

Weight Loss
 

As if all the little perks that make zucchini a healthy snack weren’t enough, the superfood also supports weight loss. The high amounts of water make sure that the feeling of fullness lasts for a more extended period preventing you from needlessly eating more than your body requires. What’s more, the dietary fiber contained in the zucchini ensures a low rise in your blood sugar level, which makes you feel full for a more extended time. 

 

Zucchini Recipes
 


 

After talking about the nutrients and the health benefits of the zucchini, it’s time to jump to the fun part and share a tasty low-carb recipe suitable for every occasion. This time, we’d like to share an all-time favorite, zucchini tots. While they share an uncanny resemblance to zucchini fritters, zucchini tots aren’t fried, making them a healthier, simpler, and better alternative. 
 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, about 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheese, about 4 ounces (or nutritional yeast if dairy-sensitive)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
     

Instructions:

  • Before getting started, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush a 24-cup mini muffin tin with butter or oil and set it aside.
  • Then add the shredded zucchini to a bowl and sprinkle it with salt. Leave it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Use any kind of towel you have to soak up as much water as possible. (This step is crucial, make sure not to miss it.)
  • Sift in the coconut flour onto the shredded zucchini and make sure that it’s covered with flour. Now mix in the eggs, cheddar cheese, onion, and paprika, and blend it all well together.
  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zucchini blend to each muffin cup. Bake it for 15 minutes, or until the mixture has a golden brown color.

 

That’s all it takes, folks. Now you can serve your zucchini tots as a side dish or enjoy them as an appetizer. 

 

This is the last of our superfood series. If you’re looking for more healthy snacks and recipe inspirations, make sure to browse through our previous superfoods selections.

 

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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